If you thought the Brooklyn Nets traded for a bad contract in Joe Johnson, wait until you hear what they’re doing with their own contracts — namely that of Brook Lopez. Brooklyn is going to offer Lopez a max contract according to Yahoo Sports.
With trade talks disintegrating quickly with the Magic (I could have done a cleaver magic trick pun but I have self respect), the Nets are trying to force Orlando’s hand and are trying to pull rabbit out of their hat (okay I buckled).
Lopez is needed as the centerpiece of a deal involving the Nets getting Dwight Howard from Orlando, but in the last 24 hours those trade talks have violently fallen apart and it’s now looking like the Magic want to deal with one of the two Los Angeles teams or the Houston Rockets who are ready to send their whole team to Orlando for Howard.
So in a last ditch game of chicken, the Nets are offering Lopez a max contract to try and scare the Magic into pulling the trigger on the deal.
The reason the offering of a max deal to Lopez is a scare tactic that could back fire on Brooklyn is that when Lopez signs the deal, he cannot be traded until December which means Brooklyn is killing it’s own chances at getting Howard.
Orlando has started to back off trade talks with Brooklyn that got white hot over the last 48 hours but got sprayed with a serious dose of nitrous oxide that froze the talks. Thank Dan Gilbert and Kris Humphiries for dousing the talks and freezing them. Humphries wanted a multi-year deal and no one wanted to give him that. Gilbert eventually pulled the Cavs out of the talks and now the Nets are getting desperate.
The thing of it is, if Lopez signs the contract, not only do they not get Howard but the Nets are then on the hook for $58-$78 million. The Nets are filthy rich so they really don’t care about the rice tag but on paper, missing out on Howard and getting a $78 million Lopez as a consolation prize is pretty weak.
It’s not that Lopez is a bad player, he’s not and he’s one of the best centers in the league. But he’s nowhere near worth what the Nets will pay him and now that they’re crawling back to him, they need to offer him this money to heal all wounds. The Nets are basically watching Howard and Orlando walks away from them and now are forced with slowly turning around and facing Lopez with an innocent “whoops” shrug.
That’s why Lopez is getting what he’s getting. Yes, the Nets always planned on matching any offers but the most a team could give Lopez was four years. Brooklyn is maxing him out at five years and a massive chunk of “we’re sorry we think you’re second best” cash.
But if you need closure as a Nets fan or an NBA junkie, the max offer to Lopez kills all hope that Brooklyn is getting Dwight Howard. Lopez can’t be moved until December and Howard isn’t staying in Orlando that long. Lopez is the man in Brooklyn and the drama surrounding Howard continues, love it or hate it.